The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. represented a client who sustained injuries to his ankle, back, and neck.
On July 13, 2010, the plaintiff, a crane's operator, fell while he was descending an exterior temporary stairway. The incident occurred at a construction site.
He sued the site's owner, the site's manager, the construction project's general contractor, a related entity, the subcontractors that erected the stairway, and the site's developers. The plaintiff alleged that the subcontractors that erected the stairway were negligent in their construction of the scaffold, that their negligence created a dangerous condition that caused the accident, and that the remaining defendants failed to ensure adequate levels of safety and therefore violated the New York State Labor Law.
Several of the defendants were dismissed. The matter proceeded against the remaining defendants.
The plaintiff claimed that the accident was a result of him having slipped on rainwater that had accumulated on the stairway. He claimed that he was holding the stairway's handrail, but that wet conditions broke his grip. The plaintiff’s expert engineer submitted a report in which he opined that the stairway's steps were composed of smooth steel that was dangerously slippery when wet. Each step's surface was dotted by a series of nubs that were intended to provide traction, but the expert contended that the nubs were not effective. He also opined that the stairway was dangerously steep.
The plaintiff's counsel contended that the defendants violated New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations title 23, part 1.7(d), which specifies that a work site's passageways and elevated surfaces must be free of grease, ice, snow, water and other foreign substances that may cause slippery conditions. They contended that the violation established that the defendants failed to provide or ensure reasonable and adequate protection, as required by Labor Law ?? 241(6). They also contended that the incident stemmed from an elevation-related hazard, as defined by Labor Law ?? 240(1), and that the plaintiff was not provided the proper, safe equipment that is a requirement of the statute.
Defense counsel contended that the stairway satisfied all relevant codes. He also claimed that the stairway was designed for outdoor use and therefore reasonably safe.
The plaintiff's counsel moved for summary judgment of liability. The judge found that the defendants violated Labor Law ?? 241(6), but that a jury would have to resolve the claim based on Labor Law ?? 240(1). Defense counsel appealed, and the appellate division, First Department, reversed the judge’s decision. The First Department found that the defendants violated Labor Law ?? 240(1), but that a jury would have to resolve the claim based on Labor Law ?? 241(6). Defense counsel appealed again, and the Court of Appeals reversed the First Department's decision. The Court of Appeals found that a jury would have to resolve both claims.
The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement. The defendants' insurers agreed to pay a total of $5 million.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C.'s team of NYC personal injury attorneys have recovered more than $400 million in verdicts and settlements for their clients. We understand the financial and emotional toll a serious accident can have on your life. That’s why we dedicate ourselves to maximizing your recovery and securing what you deserve.
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